Tag Archives: Frances Scarantino

Cross Bay Diner back in business after Sandy closure

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos  by Terence M. Cullen

Order up!

The Cross Bay Diner reopened on Friday, May 24 after being closed nearly seven months due to Sandy damage.

The diner’s reopening marks another step forward for the community as fewer businesses remain shuttered due to the storm.

Michael Siderakis, the owner of Cross Bay Diner, State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Councilmember Eric Ulrich and community members Frances Scarantino and Frank Gulluscio cut the ribbon to mark the popular eatery’s reopening.

Cross Bay Diner owner Michael Siderakis and State Senator Joseph Addabbo.



Kids shine at S.T.A.R.S.

| Phertling@queenscourier.com


Sarah Kaye recalls many fond memories from her time as a kid with Frances Scarantino, president and founder of S.T.A.R.S.

“The program gave me so much,” said Kaye. “It kept me off the streets.”

Kaye, 27, is now one of the most active volunteers at the Striving to Achieve & Reach Success (S.T.A.R.S.) youth center, coaching cheerleading and instructing hip-hop classes. She began there as a nine year old, and started helping out with volunteer work at age 14.

Scarantino began her quest of creating a youth center in 1994, when she started to contact community boards and local civic associations. Her goal was to start an organization to keep young kids involved in positive activity and away from the streets

“I saw young people not having anything to do in the neighborhood,” she said. “I thought we should have a youth center in our area.”

It was at this time that Scarantino joined forces with a young Joseph Addabbo Jr., who at this point “was a nobody.” Addabbo, who now represents the 15th State Senate District, approached Scarantino with the same goal in mind: to keep kids in the area active and out of trouble.

“I took him up on his offer and he became my VP,” said Scarantino.

The two worked very closely — and very hard — contacting different local organizations, in order to build up an association of their own. They even held activities for kids at local parks before they were able to create a youth center.

Scaratino’s wish for a youth center for Howard Beach at last came true in 1996, when S.T.A.R.S. became incorporated after she purchased property in Coleman Square. The center still calls Coleman its home today.

Since then, she has relied on a group of volunteers to help her run hundreds of activities for kids of all different ages.

“It was like I was repaying them for everything they gave me as a kid,” said Kaye, who said she hopes to achieve the same success Scarantino hoped for nearly 20 years ago.

Kaye also believes that many kids will follow her path and give back to the organization that made her childhood so special.

“To give back to the organization you were in once, it’s just awesome,” she said. “Their younger siblings come in and then in the future, their kids can come in.”

She sees a circle-effect taking place at S.T.A.R.S., with new generations flooding into the program.

“Just to get kids involved in something positive, that’s the ultimate goal for me.”

S.T.A.R.S. will be holding an event showcase at St. Barnabas church in Howard Beach on June 30. The cheerleading class, hip-hop class, and singing class will put on a few performances to show their families what they’ve learned. A “Night Out Against Crime” event will also be held on August 7. S.T.A.R.S. will be providing free activities for the kids.

Visit www.starsyouthcenter.com for more information.

Southwest Rotary Club ‘stuffs’ bus for a good cause

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Melissa Chan. The Rotary Club of Southwest Queens collected enough nonperishable foods to “stuff” this bus.

The school bus was stuffed and ready to go, only its passengers weren’t students — they were boxes of Cheerios and cans of Campbell’s soups.

During its second annual food drive on Saturday, November 5, the Rotary Club of southwest Queens parked outside of Waldbaum’s on Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach for a full day of collecting nonperishable foods for a local food pantry.

The “Stuff the Bus” event took place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., when Rotary Club members were on hand to encourage shoppers to drop off bags of food or donate cash and gift certificates as they left the supermarket. All proceeds were donated to Our Lady of Grace Ministry of Care Services food pantry in Howard Beach.

Rotary Club President Frances Scarantino said the local food pantry greatly needed to be replenished.

“They’re very, very low on food to give to those who need it, especially during the holiday season,” she said. “When we go to the food pantry, we see that the shelves are empty. Our heart breaks for those people who can’t afford a basic need like food. We feel great about being able to put food on the table for them.”

Scarantino said the bus was stuffed for the second year in a row. Aside from the food collected, the Rotary Club raised $185 in cash and gift certificates.